Antrim, Norfolk Southern agree on rail crossings
A settlement agreement between Antrim Township and Norfolk Southern was reached Monday evening.
PennDOT will retain ownership of Milnor Road, Antrim will own the future Hykes Road bridge and maintain the top, while Norfolk Southern will maintain the underside. The fate of the two roads was the source of extensive discussion as the rail company prepares to build an intermodal facility in Antrim.
In a special meeting June 21, supervisors Rick Baer, Curtis Myers, Samuel Miller and Fred Young III approved the agreement, brokered by solicitor John Lisko and special counsel Janet Miller, and NS attorney Benjamin Dunlap.
Originally, NS wanted to dedicate Milnor and the Hykes bridge to Antrim, but the board balked at the idea. With PennDOT included in the talks since NS filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission on May 20, all entities reached a consensus on who would take responsibility for infrastructure changes to accommodate safe tracks at the road intersections.
NS will close Milnor on both sides near the tracks and the road ending in cul-de-sacs will continue to be under the control of the state. The township will accept ownership of the separated grade crossing on Hykes Road, already a township road. Per the agreement, Antrim will maintain the deck/roadway surface, approaches, guiderails, parapets, lighting, sidewalks, and snow and ice removal. NS will maintain the substructure and superstructure, defined as the abutments, bearings and beams, and will perform inspections in compliance with state and federal regulations.
In addition, NS will give Antrim $300,000 when the Milnor crossing is physically closed, to be used for township road improvements as desired by the supervisors.
Both sides were happy with the final agreement.
"We're glad to have this done," said Antrim administrator Brad Graham. "We continue to be excited about the rail facility coming in. We worked through things pretty fairly."
Roger Bennett, NS director of industrial development, concurred. "We are very pleased to get this resolved in advance of the PUC process."
The state utility commission planned to be in Antrim June 22 to visit the Milnor and Hykes sites, ask questions of the affected parties, and seek comment from NS, Antrim, Franklin County, PennDOT and utility companies. Once the PUC regulator approves the entire plan, NS can move ahead with construction of its facility and changes to the rail crossings.
Other points agreed upon in the settlement are as follows.
NS will perform all work and pay all costs to abolish the Milnor crossing and alter the Hykes crossing, subject to any public funding obtained.
The Hykes overpass will be a single span prestressed concrete bridge.
Antrim reserves the right to address the issue of bridge ownership in any future administrative or legal proceeding if it is reconstructed or replaced.
NS will give Antrim copies of bridge inspection reports. Both sides agree to maintain confidentiality of the reports to the extent permitted by law.
The document was signed by Robert Siik, NS Group Manager, Service and Assets; Robert Huffman, Vice President of Intermodal Operations; Mary Klein, Antrim Township secretary: and Richard Baer, chairman of the board of supervisors.